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RobertW
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 Arthur Custance: "The Difference Between 'Sin' and 'sins' ".

This is a carry over from the "What is sin?" thread.

Ron's post:

Quote:
Have you ever read anything of Arthur Custance? I have often had his work recommended to me but have never really read it. Today, googling, I came across what looks like a pretty thorough examination of the topic The difference between "Sin" and "sins".



The article can he found [url=http://custance.org/old/man/7ch1.html][u]here[/u]. [/url]

I wish to discuss the aspect of this article in which the writer makes the proposal that the 'problem' we have with Sin (as a disease) could in fact be a physiological or biological phenomena. He uses the illustration of how alcohol and drugs affect our moral judgments.

I will pause a bit for those interested to give the article a browse or a read.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/2/6 14:16Profile
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 Re: Arthur Custance: "The Difference Between 'Sin' and 'sins'

For those who do not wish to read the whole article I will excerpt a couple quotes that i think serve as the basis of Custance's reasoning:

[u]Quote# 1[/u]: This physical corruption, which throughout the subsequent centuries of human history has gradually reduced the life span of man to a few score years at the best, has had an equally disastrous effect upon the human spirit. Though chemical in nature when first introduced into Adam's body, the poison had some disturbing effect which was thereafter inherited by all Adam's descendants. Consequently, as the individual matures, it is his nature to be inescapably predisposed to rebellion against God. It is no longer possible for man to render perfect obedience to the law of God. The innocence of childhood which ought to mature into virtue becomes, alas, guilt instead. On this account the law failed because of the weakness of the flesh (Rom. 8:3).

What began as a fatal poisoning of the human body has become a fatal poisoning of the human spirit. This tragic spiritual sickness which brings to nought all human aspirations after holiness, has been termed "Original Sin."

It is a curious fact that Christian scholars have paid very little attention to its basic physical or chemical origin. Luther was perceptive enough to discern the significance of the circumstances of the events in Eden and of the special emphasis in the record placed upon the seed of the woman rather than the seed of the man. He said, (2) "Through the fall of Adam sin entered into the world, and all men in Adam have consequently sinned. For the paternal sperm (i.e., seed) conveys the corruption from generation to generation." And again, according to Tertullian, (3) "The soul has its sinful condition as a result of its relation with Adam. Our race is infected...with sin which has become so to speak a natural element in mankind." The idea that a poison is responsible was voiced by Franz Volkmar Reinhard (1753-1812) (4) in his System of Christian Morals, who explained the Fall as a kind of poisoning and hereditary sin as the inheritance of a poisoned constitution. Like many others who shared his views, he held that the disposition to sinfulness arose in this way but that it is only on account of "actual sins" in which free self-determination is involved that man allows his sinful disposition to realize itself.

[u]Quote #2[/u]: It may be questioned how it is possible that a physical poison could lead to a hereditary defect with such a pronounced and fatal effect upon man's spirit throughout history. But there are poisons which are known to depress man's moral sense. Alcohol, for example, is one such poison. Though it is a toxic agent, nevertheless under certain conditions it may have medicinal value (I Tim. 5:23). Certainly in itself it is only a chemical substance. Yet it has been established beyond a shadow of doubt that it acts upon the higher centers in man to debase his powers of self-judgment and to encourage in him greater liberty in the expression of his lower nature. It is therefore clear that a poisoned body may well be related to the fact that all men grow up to be sinful in nature.

Just to make sure that my meaning is understood, since we are really setting the stage for all that follows, I should like to reiterate what is said above in slightly different terms. Not only is physical death now the appointed experience of all men in Adam (I Cor. 15:22), but all men are active sinners. Romans 3:23 has it, "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." But in writing to the Roman Christians, Paul makes it very clear that though all men inherit Adam's disease, Adam's sin, they do not imitate his particular sins. They have inherited his final mortal state but their transgressions are not a "similitude" of his (Rom. 5:14). Nor is Adam's particular form of transgression imputed to his descendants, though his acquired disease is inherited by them to become a root which bears fruit in their lives. As a result they stand equally under the sentence of spiritual death by their own disobedience to the law of God, as they do under the sentence of physical death. The penalty of spiritual death is shared because each man has sinned personally not merely because Adam sinned. Each individual comes under sentence of spiritual death for his own sins.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/2/6 14:26Profile
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 Re:

Alcohol, for example, is one such poison. Though it is a toxic agent, nevertheless under certain conditions it may have medicinal value (I Tim. 5:23).


Certainly in itself it is only a chemical substance. Yet it has been established beyond a shadow of doubt that it acts upon the higher centers in man to debase his powers of self-judgment and to encourage in him greater liberty in the expression of his lower nature. It is therefore clear that a poisoned body may well be related to the fact that all men grow up to be sinful in nature.

[i]“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a raging, And whoever is deceived there by is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1).[/i]



See also Prov 21:17, 1 Samuel 1:14; Isaiah 5:11, 22; 28:1, etc.

In the New Testament we read; "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be ye filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

Prohibition of drunkeness for elders in 1 Timothy 3:3, 8; Titus 1:7

Drunkeness as an analogy; Revelation 14:8, 10; 16:19; 17:2; 18:3.

It is interesting to add to this pharmakia which means a spell binding potient. The Greek word "pharmakia" seems to mean "mind altering drugs", and appears five times; Galatians 5:20, Revelation 9:21, 18:23, 21:8, and 22:15. "Pharmakia" is translated into the KJV as either "witchcraft" or "sorcery".

We are said to get our English word "pharmacy" from the Greek word "pharmakia".

In each of the above five passages, "pharmakia", or "drugs" is listed as works of the flesh as opposed to the fruit of the Spirit.


Alcohol and certain drugs have a profound effect on moral behavior. Consider this passage from Proverbs 23:

Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last [u]it biteth [i]like[/i] a serpent, and stingeth [i]like[/i] an adder[/u]. Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: [u]when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again. [/u]

This, I think, is a summary of how Sin effects a person. can a connection be made somehow to the effects of a 'chemical' upon the human body and what has happened to us since Sin entered?



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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/2/7 9:05Profile
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 Re:

Hmmm.. Well I guess we would have to look and see what sin does. Death has passed upon all men because of sin. Is there a chemical substance that makes our body deteriorate? It seems we keep going back to "original sin" and things closely related... but what without a doubt has been passed to us? Death is a definite. I don't know for sure, but I would assume if you were strong in scientific matters you could explain chemically why the body breaks down.


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Josh Parsley

 2006/2/7 9:46Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

Quote:
I don't know for sure, but I would assume if you were strong in scientific matters you could explain chemically why the body breaks down.



It is interesting that the author quotes from [i]Ghost In The Machine[/i] which, ironically, is a book I bought used from Amazon about two months ago for a totally different reason. It was written in the late 60's from a purely scientific (naturlist) point of view.

The author of the book can clearly see that evolution CANNOT account for the phenomena of human behavior. He see's the problem- but is unable to come to the knowledge of the truth and [i]acknowledge[/i] a biblical answer. He is obviously biased against religious explainations. He exposes many flaws of evolution; but to his own ends. He can see that man is clearly on a path of self-destruction, but don't understand what is DRIVING this.

The point being, even the ungodly see a pattern of bahavior that can be characterized as 'Original Sin'. Animals do not have the self-destructive tendencies that man has. They do not mass murder their own kind, etc.


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/2/7 11:21Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
It is no longer possible for man to render perfect obedience to the law of God. The innocence of childhood which ought to mature into virtue becomes, alas, guilt instead. On this account the law failed because of the weakness of the flesh (Rom. 8:3).



Man has never had the capacity to perfectly obey the law of God. This proposition is based on a wrong premeis.

God created Adam tripartite with a body, a soul, and a spirit. God placed Adam before the Tree of Lfie that He might eat of it and recieve God as Life.

Only God is holy, rightouse and Glory. Adam did not posess these attributes in himself. Only by taking God Himself in would Adam be constituted with rightousness, holiness and glory.

But instead, Adam ate of the tree of the Knowlege of good and evil and became an independant fallen creature devoid of the Life of God, Adam was destitute of God's rightousness, holiness and God's glory. And because of man's sin he was barred from the Tree of Life. God who is holy, rightouse and Glory itself could not, would not dwell in man who was fallen, sinful and corrupt (Genesis 3:22-24).

Only through Christ's redemption is man brought back to his standing before God and only by partaking of Christ as the Tree of Life is man constituted with rightousness, holiness and God's glory.

The Law of God is the revealtion of the charecter and attributes of God. And man has never in himself had the capacity to obey or fulfill God's Law. The Law was given to reveal man's utter inability and to expose his sinfullness. To bring Him to Christ for redemption and to recieve Him as his life to constitute him with Christ to be His holiness, his rightousness, and his Glory.

To suggest man had in himself the capacity to obey God's Law is to belive the lie of Satan, "you shall be as God knowing good and evil."

To be sinless is one thing. Adam was sinless before the fall. But he did not posess the positive attributes of rightousness, holiness and glory. These attributes belong to God alone. And only by reciveing God Himself as Life by eating of the tree of Life and being constituted with God Himself in Christ do we manifest and enjoy these positive attributes of God.

As Paul said, "That i may be found in Him, not having a rightousness of my own derived from law, but that which comes thrugh faith in Christ, the rightousness which comes from God on the basis of faith..."

Christ HImself, who was sinless in his humanity, did not live by his sinless humanity but denied Himself and lived by the Life of the Father. He lived a crucified life. He manifested the holiness, the rightousness and Glory of God. And He kept the law not by his own humanity but by living Out God Himself as God manifest in the flesh.

Graftedbranch

 2006/2/7 13:06Profile
RobertW
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 Re:

Hi Graftedbranch,

Quote:
But instead, Adam ate of the tree of the Knowlege of good and evil and became an independant fallen creature devoid of the Life of God,...



The author of the article suggests that a 'poison' entered into Adam through the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil on a 'physical' level and he passed this 'poison' on to his posterity.

I agree that Adam in of himself was not righteous and holy and that he was dependent on God to impart righteousness as he lived in obedience. However, I think there is more to the problem than Adam being 'disconnected' from the life of God. We are dead in trespasses and sins, but there is also the issue of 'Sin entering.'

Make sense?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/2/7 13:15Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
I agree that Adam in of himself was not righteous and holy and that he was dependent on God to impart righteousness as he lived in obedience. However, I think there is more to the problem than Adam being 'disconnected' from the life of God. We are dead in trespasses and sins, but there is also the issue of 'Sin entering.'



The only obedience required of Adam was to eat freely of the Tree of Life. And today that is also the only requirement for us. And the only prohabition for Adam was to not eat of the tree of the knowelege of good and evil.

In John, The Lord said, "labor not for the food which perishes but for the food which abides to eternal Life. They asked, What is the work of God. And the Lord replied, "This is the work of God, that you believe into Him whom He has sent" and went on to say, "I am the Bread of Lfie...

God has only one requirement of man. That is to eat the Bread of Life which is Christ. God's only requirement of Adam was to eat of the Tree of Life. IN this Tree is everything God requires of man. IN this Tree is His very Life which brings into man His holiness, His rightousness, and His glory.

What can we do? Can we make ourselvs rightouse, holy, or acceptable to God? No. We can only do one thing. We can come to Christ. We can believe into Him and we can partake of Him who becomes to us wisdom from God, both rightousness, sanctification and redemption.

And partaking of Him brings the Life of God into us making us sons of God (John 1:12,13). We become as Peter says, "partakers of the divine nature". and as children of God we posess His life and his nature. And as we feed on Christ and live by Him we manifest his holiness, His rightousness, and his glory.

Graftedbranch

 2006/2/7 13:38Profile
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 Re: Arthur Custance: "The Difference Between 'Sin' and 'sins'

Custance: Sin and sins

Quote:
The penalty is set forth in the Hebrew in a way different from English. In the Authorized Version it is rendered, "Thou shalt surely die"; in the original it is more literally, "Dying, thou shalt die." This arrangement of the wording may be intended to emphasize the penalty of disobedience, but it is also possible that it would be best rendered into English as "Thou shalt begin to die." Whatever may be the precise meaning, the end result is clear. Eating the fruit, introduced into man's body some toxic substance which disturbed its operation and ultimately brought him to the grave.

This is the foundation of Custance's paragraph on Sin and sins and, while I am comfortable with the distinction between 'Sin' and 'sin', I am not comfortable with this opening statement. It seems that his whole thesis is going to be built upon the foundation of the idea that "eating the fruit, introduced into man's body some toxic substance...". This is a pretty heavy speculation to base a theory on. Surely Adam's consequent history was the result of his disobedience not his digestive processes.

Then what of 'thou shalt begin to die'? Hebrew tenses are very different to ordinary Western patterns and I am cautious to make statements about them. However there is more than one reason I think Custance is wrong here.

1. Hebrew idiom doubles a word to intensify it. I have mentioned this fairly often, but Holy of Holies, King of Kings, Song of Songs all have this pattern. The phenomena in Hebrew poetry called 'parallelism' has a similar effect; the same truth is declared twice to intensify the effect. In the letter of James, which is very Hebrew in its mind-set (not less 'inspired' but more 'Hebrew') there is a helpful example of this phenomena;“Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” (James 5:17 KJVS) Young's Literal Translation has “Elijah was a man like affected as we, and with prayer he did pray — not to rain, and it did not rain upon the land three years and six months;” (James 5:17 YNG) Young has done this because the word that the KJV translates as 'earnestly' is 'proseuche' which elsewhere in the NT is always translated 'prayer', but the verb translated 'prayed' is 'proseuchomai' which means 'to pray'. It could be translated 'a prayer he prayed' but we can get the mood of the verse from the preceding sentence The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elijah is mentioned here as an example of 'the effectual pray-er': a man whose 'fellow feelings' were as ours. These are intense verses. The Hebrew idiom and mind-set has created a 'intense moment' in Elijah's prayer.

Adam Clarke has Thou shalt surely die.] moth tamuth; Literally, a death thou shalt die; or, dying thou shalt die. Thou shalt not only die spiritually, by losing the life of God, but from that moment thou shalt become mortal, and shalt continue in a dying state till thou die. I have examined about 12 versions and have not found even one which hints at Custance's translation "thou shalt begin to die". Here are a few examples:“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:17 ASV)

“but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt certainly die.” (Gen 2:17 DRBY)

“and of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou dost not eat of it, for in the day of thine eating of it — dying thou dost die.’” (Gen 2:17 YNG)These translations seem to synchronize the day of the transgression with the day of the death. This is the sense too of Rom 5 “because of this, even as through one man the sin did enter into the world, and through the sin the death; and thus to all men the death did pass through, for that all did sin;” (Rom 5:12 YNG)

“But, not as the offence so also [is] the free gift; for if by the offence of the one the many did die, much more did the grace of God, and the free gift in grace of the one man Jesus Christ, abound to the many;” (Rom 5:15 YNG) I cannot see any other interpretation of 'by the offence of one the many did die' other than the repeating of Rom 5:12 that at the moment of transgression the sin entered, and the death entered through the sin.

2. Secondly, (and much shorter. ;-))Custance's idea gives us no explanation for the death of the animals. They did not ingest the toxin contained in "the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" but they die. Why?

I think this 'chemical toxin' is a red-herring. I am happy to discuss it further if folks think it is profitable but for me it is a 'non-starter'. The second part of the theory, that the leaves of the tree of life in Rev 22 are a chemical antidote, I find equally unsatisfactory.


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Ron Bailey

 2006/2/9 15:30Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
Secondly, (and much shorter. )Custance's idea gives us no explanation for the death of the animals. They did not ingest the toxin contained in "the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" but they die. Why?



Good question. There is not one living thing that does [u]not[/u] physically die since the fall. Everything dies. So what ever it is that makes man's mortal bodies mortal also makes animals and plants bodies 'mortal'. The question I think we need to ask first is, were the animals ever immortal? Maybe 'immortal' is the wrong word.

Custance quotes Augustine's view of our Lord's body in saying it was possible that He may [u]not[/u] have died, but it was not possible that he 'had' to die (para). In other words He [u]could[/u] have lived forever as it was [u]not[/u] inevitable for Him to die as it is for us. I suppose we are 'appointed' to die.


Quote:
I think this 'chemical toxin' is a red-herring. I am happy to discuss it further if folks think it is profitable but for me it is a 'non-starter'. The second part of the theory, that the leaves of the tree of life in Rev 22 are a chemical antidote, I find equally unsatisfactory.



I also had trouble with that part, but thought he may be on to something with the whole concept that there was something wrong physiologically that predisposed one to rebellion. Maybe it is all a dead end road, but there seems to be a definite connection to fulfilling or not fulfilling natural desires in a good way and temptation. Maybe we could just go back and take up the Constitutional Sin issue. :-?


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/2/9 17:48Profile





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